Vetepere Things to Do
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Just off the dusty country road, down a muddy path, on the edge of the forest, you will find Vargamae. These are the preserved wooden farm buildings that witnessed the birth of Anton Hansen Tammsaare, founder of the Estonian language movement and author of the Estonian National Epic: Truth and Justice. Much of that quintology of books was set at the Wargamae, especially the first book which every Estonian child reads at school. It was even allowed in Soviet times, despite the nationalistic overtones.
The buildings can be seen on the (now defunct) 25 Kroon note.
The farmhouses of Vargamae are about an hour's walk from Vetepere, deep in the forest, within a large kilometer long clearing.
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In the long evenings of Summer the Tallinn City Theater has put on irregular performances of the National Epic, Truth and Justice, in the forest clearing next to the Vargamae farm where much of the story is set. Sometimes they have performed the entire quintology over a marathon day long performance, other times they have taken just one book from the series. When I visited it was book three or four, although I can't be sure as it was all in Estonian.
The performance was lavish and spectacular, with pyrotechnics, period costumes and dozens of extras. The setting amid the old forests of Estonia, miles from civilization, made the whole performance come to life in a way that would be impossible on a traditional theater stage. Watching the actors move about in the forest, on set and off, in their 1920s costumes created an odd feeling of going back in time that was disturbed only by the occasional use of a mobile phone.
It's a very popular show with Estonians, with hundreds of people turning up every day. And when one theatre isn't putting on a show, another will often take its place.
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Most people visit here by car, but I think it is possible to get here on public transport. It will require a bit of research and a sense of adventure. You can certainly get a bus to Paide, the local administrative centre. Regular buses run between Tallinn and Paide every day. From there you will certainly find local buses, although they may only run as far as Albu. From Albu it's about 2km to Vetepere, which is really just a couple of houses. It's about a 5km walk from Albu to Vargame in the forest.
If you have a car you can drive right up to Vargamae and avoid walking altogether.
Vetepere Warnings and Dangers
This far into the country, especially if you go to Wargamae, you will find a plague of mosquitoes in summer. The forests are also alive with ticks, some of them carrying the potentially fatal disease of tick-borne encephalitis. It's a tiny but not insignificant threat, and people who work in these forests get immunised against it. Your best prevention is to wear lots of insect repellent, especially around the ankles if you go wandering into the forest.
Don't be paranoid, though. People live here and almost never get infected, so it's unlikely you will. But no harm in taking simple preventative action. The locals certainly do. As you can see in this picture the actors who had to run through the forest would douse their ankles in insect repellent.